Concern about impact of avian flu on wild bird population

South Scotland list MSP Colin Smyth has raised concerns about the impact of avian flu on the region’s wild birds, after dozens of reports of dead and dying wild birds across Dumfries and Galloway.

Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 1:53 pm
Avian flu is affecting the migrating geese along the Solway Coast

Experts have said avian flu is causing huge numbers of wild bird deaths, especially among the migrating geese which winter along the Solway Coast.

A number of cases have been found among domestic birds resulting in flocks being culled.

Mr Smyth said: “We are seeing a growing number of avian flu outbreaks among domestic flocks and poultry farms in our region and this continues to be a real problem. My thoughts are always with the owners whose flocks are being culled.

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“However, the impact on wild birds appears to have been forgotten. The Scottish Government keep referring to the number of cases as just a couple, but that is only on farms. This utterly ignores the scale of the problem in wild birds, especially among wild geese.

“While there are now 3km protection zones and 10km surveillance zones around farm sites where there have been identified cases, no such protections or surveillance exists where wild birds have died.

"The Government should be considering whether to limit access to sites in high risks areas where wildfowl and people mix as well as limits on wildfowling where there have been a significant number of cases."

People must not touch dead birds and report them by calling Defra’s helpline on 03459 33 55 77 (option 7).​​​​​